Collection AR1122 - Mark Henry Chambers Hayler Collection

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Mark Henry Chambers Hayler Collection


  • 1889-1997 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

5 boxes

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Name of creator

(1887 - 1986)

Biographical history

Archival history

Mark Henry Chamber Hayler was a Conscientious Objector who was imprisoned for his pacifist stance during the First World War.
Born in 1887 in Hull to Guy and Elizabeth Hayler.
Mark Hayler had been involved with religion from an early age, including Sunday School at a Congregationalist Church and attendance of a Methodist Trevecca College in Wales between 1911- 1913. However it was Quakerism he became most involved in, starting in 1904 when he became acquiescent with David Richardson.

Mark Hayler was residing in Croydon by the time the Military Service Act came in to force in 1916, which introduced conscription for all unmarried men under the age of 40. He face a Court Martial in May 1916 and sentenced to 3 months in Wandsworth Prison. He was released 31st July 1916.
In May 1917, he faced a second Court Martial in which he was sentenced to 12 months in Winchester, although by January 1918 he had been transferred to Dartmoor Convicts Prison as part of the Home Office Scheme.
Although locks had been removed from cells at Dartmoor, and the inmates had a level of freedom, they were given hard labour and they and their families were despised by the wardens and society at large.
Mark Hayler took on work in Paris as part of the Friends War Victims Committee following his release in January 1919.

After his return Mark Hayler continued to work for his father as part of the World Prohibition Federation, becoming the Executive Secretary in 1925. He also edited the publication 'International Record' until 1968. In July 1930, Mark Hayler married Daisy, a widow of another Conscientious Objector, John Warin, who had died during the war. Their son, Wilfred was born the next year. Sadly Daisy died in March 1935.

Following the Second World War War Mark Hayler began to travel the world and compile his memories for an autobiography, going as far as to draft chapters. he was a proliferate diary writer and wrote songs and articles, which can be found in the collection. His life and that of other Conscientious Objectors also influenced a radio 4 program and a play, which can be found within the collection. Mark Henry Chambers Haylers passed away in 1986.

His father, Guy Hayler was born on Guy Fawkes Day, 1850 after which he was named. Guy became heavily involved in the Temperance movement, becoming a full time secretary of the North of England Temperance League. Following a period of illness in 1906, and support from Lady Carlisle, Guy moved to moved to South Norwood with his family in 1909. Although he was unsuccessful in becoming an MP in the 1918 general election, Guy continued activities with the temperance movement, regularly travelling to the US to attend International conferences. He died at an old age of 93 in September 1943.
Mark Hayler's brothers, Walter and Glen, similarly were Conscientious Objectors, and both went through the tribunals. Walter was acquitted and Glen eventually moved to the US. Walter compiled a list of local Conscientious Objectors and their details. which is held in the Archival collections of the Museum of Croydon (AR1064).
Mark Hayler's mother and sisters, Edith and Ethel, were similarly active during the First World War, writing petitions and holding correspondence with Conscientious Objectors during their trials and imprisonment. Edith moved in with Mark Hayler to support him after the death of his wife. Ethel became the Children's Librarian in Croydon and continued to champion pacifism through her activities as a chairwomen in the Women's International League during the 1930s.

The records of other Conscientious Objectors from Croydon, are also found, including Mark Guy Pearce, a close friend of Mark Hayler, George Glasscock and Gilbert Foan. Gilbert Foan was a Quaker and a local hairdresser and shopkeeper. He was sentenced to hard labour at Wormwood Shrubs, eventually being discharged on 2nd April 1919.
After the war Gilbert Foan successfully won the seat for North Croydon in the 1923 general election as a Labour candidate. On 9th January 1924 he attended the 'Fetters and Roses' dinner at the Houses of Parliament, given for MPs who had been imprisoned for religious or political reasons,a picture of which can be found in the collections. He was also the subject of a cartoon of Croydon celebrities by Matt and can be found in the Art Collection.
Gilbert Foan died on 15 February 1935 and was buried in West Norwood Crematorium.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The collection came to the Archival Collections of the Museum of Croydon by way of Wilfred Hayler, Mark Hayler's son and the Croydon Quakers. It contains papers from various sources, including Guy Hayler and Wilfred himself
It was acquired on 13th January 2016

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Box 1
Early Life AR1122/1
Tribunal and Internment AR1122/2
Quaker Publications AR1122/7
Socialist Publications AR1122/8
Hayler Family AR1122/10

Box 2
Conscientious Objector Experiences AR1122/3
Life in the Prisons AR1122/4
Works and drafts AR1122/13

Box 3

Non Conscription Fellowship publications AR112/5
Anti war publications AR1122/6

Box 4

General Publications AR1122/9
Foreign Visits AR1122/11
Post First World War Publications AR1122/12

Box 5

12 audio tapes relating to recordings made by Imperial War Museum plus 1 tape recorded by Croydon Museum Service 28/11/1997 AR1122/13/2
2 reel to reel tapes, 1 unmarked, 1 ‘address delivered by Mark H.C. Hayler on Sunday Feb 7th 1971 at Croydon Friends meeting house AR1122/13/1
Box of glass negatives AR1122/10/3

A1064 - Register of local conscientious objectors compiled by Walter T. Hayler in 1916, brother to Mark Hayler is also stored within this collection

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